State Representative Diana Urban (D-North Stonington/Stonington), Legislators For Animal Advocacy and members of “Desmond’s Army”, following a recent rash of animal cruelty cases in Connecticut, last Thursday called for a comprehensive re-evaluation of the state’s animal cruelty laws.
“When a man is accused of strangling his girlfriend and then ends up torturing and ultimately strangling their dog “Desmond” to death and the courts award accelerated rehabilitation it is clear it is time to review and re-evaluate our animal cruelty laws,” Rep. Urban said. “To paraphrase Margaret Mead, one of the most dangerous things that can happen is for a person to kill or torture and animal and get away with it.
Rep. Urban was referring to a Branford case where a judge permitted a man to avoid jail time and was granted accelerated rehabilitation (A/R) after being accused of beating and strangling his dog “Desmond” to death.
“There seems to be a disconnect between the clear data from law enforcement and mental health professionals on serious of animal abuse and the sentences being handed out by the court,” State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield) said. “The legislature has increased the penalty and sentences for animal abuse the data shows the courts simply aren’t using those tools. I see no harm in having a volunteer advocate sharing the seriousness of the abuse in court. If this increases the rate of animal abusers receiving jail time and or mental health services then is valuable.”
“Research has established that there are strong links between violent behaviors toward humans and violent behaviors toward animals,” Annie Hornish, Connecticut State Director, The Humane Society of the United States, said. “Ensuring that animals receive justice for crimes of violence against them will help build a more humane and better functioning civil society. We encourage severe penalties for people who are responsible for causing animals to suffer.
Rep. Urban pointed out that HB 6690, “An Act Concerning Court Proceedings And Animal Protection which was voted out of the Judiciary Committee with bi-partisan support will focus attention on these cases of egregious cruelty by allowing an animal advocate in court to voice the extent of the cruelty and the proven link to future violent behavior. Virtually every school shooter from 1997 to 2012 started with cruelty to animals. “We need to pay attention to this link as it is a clear sign of mental instability. If we as a nation had recognized this red flag when the FBI first identified it in 1971 we might have saved some of our precious children lives. It is past time to take this seriously.”